Each year, the New England Musculoskeletal Institute at the University of Connecticut provides free foot health screenings -- and new shoes -- for the homeless.
Dr. Vinayak Sathe is inspecting ... a foot.
"Can you move your ankle up and down? Good. And can you move it sideways? So just swelling right? And how far up does it go, like up to here?"
That foot belongs to Electa Mackinnon. She lives here at the Friendship Center in New Britain…Its a homeless outreach program and shelter. Mackinnon is about to get a new pair of shoes. But before that, she's being checked out by Sathe -- a foot and ankle surgeon from UConn.
"Since I'm a diabetic and I have not seen a podiatrist since I became a diabetic he wanted to check my feet and make sure I didn't have no sores or cuts or ulcers starting on my feet."
Sathe pronounces her feet fine, though swollen. He asks Mackinnon to wash them every day and keep them moisturized to avoid infection.
"Taking good care of foot and ankle is as important as your heart, as your head and any other body part."
Sathe is offering holiday foot care to those in need in central Connecticut. He’s part of a team that arrives with an arsenal of socks, sneakers and solid winter boots -- all donated.
"Your feet are very important. Believe me, I'm a chef, I work on my feet all day long."
Jose Soto worked for years as a professional chef, but lost his job and apartment about a year ago. He says he never expected to end up in line for a free pair of shoes.
"You know, people think that this sort of thing happens to people that are just used to living in the street but this could happen to anybody. I know nurses and doctors, I know a lot of professional people in the restaurant business that are going through the same situation, you know? It's just the economy's real bad."
Soto is fitted for new pair of red work boots by physicians assistant Cindy Baczeski.
"Well happy Thanksgiving, hopefully those will help keep your feet warm," she calls after him.
"Oh yeah, absolutely," he replies.
Walking out the door, Soto says he's happy to have that new pair of shoes.
commissioned by: wnpr news, new haven, connecticut